8 Most Wanted Saloon Cars of 2014

Despite the economic gloom car manufacturers have not been downhearted. With a view to better times for all, they are bringing to the new car market an increasing number of premium saloon cars designed to enhance any driveway.

Such is the selection of comfortable, mile-eating, efficient and well equipped cars on offer, it can be difficult to sift through all the facts to make the right choice, especially when they all offer low running costs and the latest in safety and infotainment technology.

Whether for smart business use, practical family matters or just as a conversation starter at the Nineteenth Hole, these cars will fit the bill. Making an informed, balanced decision that is going to be right first time can be hard which is why we’ve featured here what we believe to be the pick of the premium crop. To help make the decision even easier we compare the same important factors across the selection.

1. Audi A6

How about the Audi A6 2.0L Ultra SE S-Tronic? The interlinking four rings assures buyers that they will find upmarket cars with high quality, comfortable interiors and smart design. Add to the mix a selection of frugal engines and it is hard to deny the pull of the brand. The A6 comes in various trim levels but even looking at the entry level SE model the sleek Audi gets a whole host of equipment as standard. Leather, obviously, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio plus a capacious 530L boot. All the basics you would expect in a premium car.

Add to that a refined 2.0L 187bhp diesel engine driving through an automatic seven-speed gearbox and economy is covered. Audi quote an official fuel consumption figure of 64.2mpg and a miserly 114g/km of the nasty stuff. With a large 73 litre fuel tank garage stops will be few and far between. The economy is enhanced by the use of ‘Ultra’ technology utilising lighter materials in construction and all for £32,515.

Interested in our top pick? Read a full expert Audi A6 review.

2. BMW S5 Series

Sticking with the German brands, BMW offer their tried and tested S5 Series. When launched in 2010 it was described as “the most complete executive saloon on the market.” Four years on and nothing’s changed. This is a car that balances onroad performance with travelling comfort to deliver a complete package for the premium car driver. It’s a BMW so it is great to drive whilst still fitting the bill for everyday needs.

In 520d form, an entry level SE model offers a 520L boot, parking sensors and all the standard kit mentioned above. Again driving through an auto ‘box the 5 Series has 190bhp yet achieves 68.9 miles for your gallon and maintains a low VED 109g/kmof CO² emissions. Impressive stuff.

3. Jaguar XF Saloon

Back here in dear old Blighty our home-grown Jaguar marque is back to its very best and their premium offering in this sector comes in the shape of the XF saloon. With this car the Big Cat brand have found the perfect balance of design and technology enhanced by a boot capacity of 540L.

The interior is both stylish and comfortable with the added pleasure of seeing the rising command dial at every start-up. The frugal engine choice would be the 2.2L diesel engine as it offers the right balance between the two important factors, performance and economy. There’s an ample 157bhp on offer and Jaguar reckon you should get nearly 58 miles to the gallon with emissions of 129g/km. £31,495 will get you the SE Business trim with sat-nav, 17-inch alloy wheels, part leather upholstery, climate control, seven-inch touch-screen for the CD stereo, Bluetooth, digital radio and MP3 connection all in the price.

4. Infiniti Q50

Over to the Far East for the Infiniti Q50. With its classy interior and impressive performance, Q50 will give drivers an air of exclusivity in an environment dominated by the German car makers. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, DAB Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, rear view camera, leather interior and heated seats, all available in Premium trim level.

With the 2.2L 167bhp diesel engine, the Q50 can offer 64mpg and emissions at 114g/km at the attractive price of £30,350 although it has to be said that at 500L capacity, the boot isn’t up there with the leaders. On the other hand this car will stand out amongst the usual suspects.

5. Lexus GS

The opposition from Japan comes in the form of the Lexus GS. Like its rival counterpart the GS will have to compete against the top echelon of premium cars. The boot is a tad disappointing at just 450L but the car has other virtues to offer. There are three models to choose from: for economy reasons we should dismiss the V6 petrol engine - desirable for performance reasons though it is - and also the more powerful petrol-electric hybrid GS 450h. To support the low running costs premise we’ve opted for the GS 300h SE CVT Automatic.

As the name suggests, it’s a hybrid and it is no lightweight. Fortunately when both battery and petrol engine are combined the GS delivers 220bhp yet maintains a low CO² figure of just 109g/km. Drive comes courtesy of a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) which feels different at first and the final decision on that will be a personal choice. Standard features include 17-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, cruise, DAB, Bluetooth connectivity and a massive eight inch colour infotainment screen. Dare to be different for £31,495.

6. Maserati Ghibli

Arriving back in Europe the latest Maserati Ghibli has recently hit the UK showrooms. The Italian manufacturer has always made cars that are objects of desire and the Ghibli is no exception. Fortunately they have also entered a new era of reliability and build quality. It is also the first from this car maker to have the option of a diesel engine which is our choice here.

You can of course choose from one of two twin-turbo V6 petrol engines but the economical choice will always be the 271bhp 3.0L single turbo V6 diesel auto that is reputed to be the most powerful of its type in the car market sprinting to 62mph in just 6.3 seconds. Obviously there has to be a penalty and the Ghibli will only deliver a lower 47mpg whilst emissions are up to 158g/km. It’s to be expected. Boot space is average at 500L but you do get luxurious leather, Bluetooth and navigation as standard. This car is the most expensive on the list at an eye-watering £49,160 but what price exclusivity?

7. Volvo S8 D4 SE Nav

Given its recent troubled history, the familiar Swedish name of Volvo may not immediately spring to mind. Nevertheless, the Volvo S80 D4 SE Nav comes from a company that prides itself on the efficiency of its engines and its unrivalled safety record.

With the lowest emissions here (104g/km), and the best fuel economy (70.6mpg) from the 178bhp D4 diesel engine, the S80 makes a compelling and attractive alternative choice. Features previously described are here too as is 480L boot and, interestingly, an internet-based multimedia system, which allows browsing and music streaming. All this Swedish delight for £32,220.

8. Mercedes Benz E-Class

Going full circle and we are back in Germany with the Mercedes Benz E-Class which has always been a best-seller and is the company’s solution to the premium car question. The last model was perhaps a bit too busy but with the latest incarnation Mercedes are back into their stride.

Buyers have always expected top quality from the three-pointed star. The E220 BlueTEC SE 2.1L diesel (168bhp) does what Mercedes does best – comfort and safety. Fuel economy at 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km are good, and the standard equipment is outstanding with sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity, DAB Radio, leather upholstery and a 540L boot as standard. German precision.

So there you have it. All the cars have their merits; all have something special to offer. Over to you.